SA v Ind

Published on January 27th, 2018 | by Rohit Sankar

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Misdirected fury on Proteas for Wanderers fiasco befuddling

“With the Phil Hughes incident in the back of everyone’s mind, could they be blamed? Up to you. But the misdirected fury at South Africa is puzzling and speaks volumes about the insane pedestal Indian fans keep their players and board without actually realising the rules of the game or the proceedings in the match”.

“If India were batting, chasing 241 runs in the fourth innings, and if the Indian team were disconsolate (with the awkward bounce of the pitch), they would have been called sissies. They would have been called sissies, because unfortunately India has this reputation that, despite the Kohlis, the Tendulkars, the Dravids, the Sehwags, the Laxmans, they have got a reputation that on a fast and bouncy pitch, they don’t travel well”, Sunil Gavaskar had said after the third day’s play at the Wanderers.

Take note of the word used – sissy.

Oxford dictionary describes ‘sissy’ as follows: “a person regarded as effeminate or cowardly.”

Now we come to the quintessential question? Who was the sissy here? Poor Dean Elgar who grit it out all his career in the very same ugly manner and coped a blow on his helmet? Wasn’t he the third highest run-scorer of 2017 in Test cricket making runs with his awkward, ugly technique? Suddenly he misses a bouncer, it hits him flush on the helmet and he is an Oscar-winning actor?

Let us get this cleared via the proper channel. Here is a copy of the ICC law book with what the relevant portion states.

2.8.2 The Umpires shall immediately suspend play, or not allow play to start or to recommence if either umpire considers that the conditions of ground, weather or light, or any other circumstances are either dangerous or unreasonable.


2.8.3 When there is a suspension of play it is the responsibility of the umpires to monitor conditions. They shall make inspections as often as appropriate, unaccompanied by any players or officials. Immediately the umpires together agree that the conditions are no longer dangerous or unreasonable they shall call upon the players to resume play.

Now, to law 6.4changing the pitch


6.4.1 If the on-field umpires decide that it is dangerous or unreasonable for play to continue on the match pitch, they shall stop play immediately advise the match referee.


6.4.2 The on-field umpires and the ICC match referee shall then consult with both captains.


6.4.3 If the captains agree to continue, play shall resume.


6.4.4 If the decision is not to resume play, the on-field umpires together with the ICC match referee shall consider. whether the existing pitch can be repaired and the match resumed from the point it was stopped.


6.4.5 If the decision is that it can’t be repaired, then the match is to be abandoned as a draw.

***

Is it mentioned anywhere that the umpires can call off play only after consulting with the two captains? Yet Ian Gould and Aleem Dar did. No, not in the South African innings after Elgar coped the blow to his helmet but multiple times when India were gritting it out against four fearsome fast bowlers. Did they want to go off then? No. Did South Africa want to go off then? No.

Now, Elgar gets hit on the helmet. It has nothing to do with the pitch, it’s cracks or anything of the sort. It is a miss by Elgar.

Does he get up and start scolding Jasprit Bumrah for bowling a bouncer? Does he get agitated at the umpires for not calling off play? NO.

He lies flat on the pitch, hurt by the blow and the umpires consult the skippers again and a furious Virat Kohli can be seen animatedly discussing that his side would want the game to go on. Faf du Plessis is alright with whatever the match referee chooses. Yes, that is right. He doesn’t say ‘Look our batsman is down and the pitch is dangerous. We won’t continue playing’. He says he is alright with whatever the officials choose.

The officials go off stopping play for the day and all of a sudden comments ranging from “sissy” to “chokers” go wild on Twitter against the Proteas. Take a moment to absorb this.

South Africa, who had only as much involvement as the Indians in this matter, are apparently scared to continue playing just because the target of 241 is near impossible to achieve here according to Twitterati. Dean Elgar, who wore a blow on his head, is apparently acting the shit out to win an Oscar nomination then and there. Could be. After all the cricket ball is nothing but a soft piece of leather with cushioning effect and the blow to the head shouldn’t in the least affect a batsman who is apparently the ‘worst ever batsman to have played cricket’ and the ‘best actor’ of this generation.

Take another moment to absorb this in.

We are at Wanderers playing a dead rubber, not with India 2-0 in the lead but with them 2-0 down. South Africa, for all their effort to make this an even contest with wonderfully competitive surfaces, are ‘sissies’ who are scared of losing. Losing what? A Test match which has been more of a gamble than anything else? A series which they have already won 2-0?

Do these headless chickens who go on ranting about South Africa choking even realise that the home side ordered for pace and bounce and the final track (which has a concerning area at good length but is otherwise as sporting a wicket as they come) comes from the curator. Get this cleared. No team asks for a 5m wide crater at good length area when they ask for favorable pitches.

It is understandable for India to feel hard done by. Their batsmen had coped blows too. They had made the tough runs. Played some brilliant cricket on day 3 and were ahead for the first time in the series. To see the day’s play being called off after that was infuriating. Understandable.

Where do they take it out, though? Against South Africa, who are playing on the very same pitch as them, not complaining and not begging India’s bowlers to be kind? NO.

If anyone…get this well and clear..ANYONE…is responsible for the farce this Test match has turned into, it is the officials out there who chose to consult with the skippers multiple times instead of taking a decision themselves. If ANYONE chickened out, it is these officials who went against their own choice of play continuing to halt proceedings late in the day with one team clearly ahead.

With the Phil Hughes incident in the back of everyone’s mind, could they be blamed? Upto you. But the misdirected fury at South Africa is puzzling and speaks volumes about the insane pedestal Indian fans keep their players and board without actually realising the rules of the game or the proceedings in the match.

 

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About the Author

mm

A cricket enthusiast striving to convey the finer details of the game in a capsule. I hope to present a bird's eye view of the game as I see it to the readers. PS: I am smitten by the likes of ABD but crush on pace bowlers who can make the ball talk.



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